“When I finally write the first sentence, I want to know everything that happens, so that I am not inventing the story as I write it – rather, I am remembering a story that has already happened.”
There’s nothing I like more after a highly productive week (can we say 5,000 words?) than letting my
one remaining hair down. This evening will therefore be spent watching I’d Do Anything and wondering if Ray Kurzweil could have possibly got any more logorithmic graphs in The Singularity is Near.
And I’ve just eaten a Cornish pasty.
(Who said writers don’t know how to live?)
This is something I joked about here a while back, but I never figured that some would take such a nonexistent threat seriously. (Okay, I did — but I never thought they’d take their unfounded fears to such ridiculous lengths.)
The builders of the world’s biggest particle collider are being sued in federal court over fears that the experiment might create globe-gobbling black holes or never-before-seen strains of matter that would destroy the planet. [more]
I’ll bet my entire life-savings that we’ll all still be here afer the LHC is switched on. Any takers?
Now, there are possibly hundreds of blog posts wandering around my internal landscape waiting to be written which, due to time demands and possible law suits, probably never will be. Like the one about the time I got my fingers trapped in a lift (elevator, for my American readers) door, or the one listing my foolproof ways of guaranteeing personal happiness (that one involves a fee and the, erm, laying on of hands. Enough said, I think.)
It occurred to me today, however, as I sorted through ideas, discarding some here, filing some there, that maybe it would be fun for you to decide what I blog about this weekend. My version of your favourite radio station’s request hour.
So… I’m not promising anything, but what would you like me to cover over the weekend?
It’s official. I’m writing again. After a rather prolonged fluey-type thing (not quite the flu, but more than a lily-livered cold), I’ve finally managed to get back into my much-needed work routine. I’ve resigned myself to the knowledge that I probably won’t hit 60,000 words by the end of the month, as I’d planned, and took a great deal of pleasure from the realisation that in spite of the enforced break I had today broken the 50,000 word mark. It would be crazy of me not to be chuffed with that — especially when I’m so happy with the whole tone and feel of the novel.
The last few days have been rather blog-less, as you may have noticed. There’s been plenty in the news to get all indignant about (I daren’t even think the word “embryo”, for fear of venting my spleen in the idiotic Cardinal O’Brien’s direction and suffering a self-induced, post-illness apoplexy!), but my energy levels aren’t quite where they need to be, just yet, so I’m behaving myself.
What does such an alien concept entail? Well, largely finishing Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity and beginning Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near. The former is my first real attempt at reading “proper” science fiction in a long while, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Asimov’s understanding of the moral/ethical questions behind his “science” was astounding. Plus it’s a bloody good love story.
As for The Singularity Is Near… I’ve just started it, but it promises to be every bit as thought-provoking as the lectures of Kurzweil’s that I’ve so enjoyed.
If I’m quiet, you know why.
I’ve always been fond of writing in the first person. I can write in the third, naturally, but the kind of novel that demands this approach never really appeals — because, to me, writing is an act of at times quite extreme involvement. Whilst writing, I like to become my central character — use aspects of myself and my own experience to give it bulk and believability — and the first person fits perfectly with this.
But, if some are to be believed, such an approach can cause problems. There are a number of them, but the one I’d like to set before you for discussion today is this: the writer should not allow his own agenda to become too obvious in the actions and dialogue of his characters.
It makes a kind of sense — especially if, for example, you’re writing a romantic novel and suddenly have your female lead start spouting her (your) neo-con drivel during a particularly passionate love-scene (enough to dampen anyone’s ardour.) That would be jarring and contrary to the novel’s aim. My argument is, however, this; for certain kinds of novel, the writer’s agenda should, with necessary skill, be allowed to stand centre-stage — right alongside the author.
The more obvious examples of this kind of novel are the roman à clef works of Henry Miller, Kerouac, Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson – to name but a few. Dating back to the 17th century, it typifies and validates, I believe, the point I wish to make, but it’s at the more extreme end of the spectrum, and what I’m more concerned with is the novel that isn’t autobiographical, but which nonetheless clearly promotes the author’s ideas — be they political, theological or merely an expression of his preference for tea over coffee.
Can a novel, with skill but in a cynical age such as ours, successfully present biased opinion in a way that can entertain and challenge, without repelling the reader? I think it can, but I’ll be interested in hearing your views.
More delights from the wit that is George Carlin — this time on “soft language.”
Five whole working days without a single word more of Children of the Resolution written. It doesn’t sound a lot, but it sure as hell feels it. I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary, coughing fits and copious amounts of snot do not go well with the noble and snotless craft of novel-writing. One flow breaks the other, so to speak, and the rhythm of my writing is one its strengths — so I’ve made myself sit it out until I’m 100% fit.
And I’m getting there. It’s been a stinker, though — not helped by the fact that I haven’t even been able to read much. My eyes have been so watery and sensitive that any attempt resulted in predictable failure.
Not that I’m moaning or anything It’s been four years since my last bout of cold/flu, so I’ve nothing to complain about — and last night I did at least finally get round to watching The Bionic Woman, the new version, which may be axed if ratings Stateside are anything to go by.
I wasn’t expecting much. I remember watching the pilot of the original as a kid, and whilst that version may not exactly stand up today, I nevertheless thought it would be hard to beat. The original was colourful, dynamic and American — the new version dark, brooding and with a former Eastenders actress in the lead role. It didn’t bode well.
But I loved it. Dark, yes. Brooding, yes. And the new Jamie? Whose name escapes me. [EDIT: Michelle Ryan.] Yes. All three worked perfectly. There was no real sense that it was being aimed at a twentysomething audience, as I suspected it might be, and overall it was very satisfying. Okay, so the plotting was a bit thin and predictable, but I could overlook that.
And watching Jamie doing her bionic stuff, I couldn’t help feeling that I wouldn’t mind having a woman like that around the house, myself. Ever so handy when you can’t get the lid off a jar.
H/T PD Smith.
This is from Peter’s excellent blog:
“If you are a published writer in the UK you probably know that if you register with PLR you can receive a very modest payment if your books are borrowed from a public library. What you might not know, however, is that the government intends to cut the amount of money it gives to PLR in the future, which of course means less money for writers. If you want to let Gordon Brown know what you think about this, you can sign an e-petition on the 10 Downing Street website.”
As Peter says, payments are modest, but I know I for one will welcome them when I’m finally published. It all adds up — so I’m off to sign. If you are a UK writer (or just have a soft spot for them ), you should maybe consider it, too.
“When you are writing the book, the moral responsibility is to the truth and the truth of the book. That may sound harsh but that’s the case.”